'I'm blessed to be here' Leukemia patient's dream of meeting Texans' Deshaun Watson comes true

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Tuesday, August 13, 2019
Leukemia patient meets Texans' Deshaun Watson
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Deshaun Watson makes wish come true for boy battling leukemia

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As the Houston Texans went back to training camp on Sunday, quarterback Deshaun Watson helped make a wish come true.

He spent the day with patient Ethan Hughes, who for one afternoon, put aside the maintenance mode of his treatment for leukemia and soaked up the moment with his favorite players.

Hughes was diagnosed with leukemia about a year ago to the day. He had treatment once a week for nine months. He now has IV chemo treatment once a month and also takes chemo pills every night.

"My hospital is just right over there, and I always look down to the field and I'm like, 'Yeah! Watson's practicing today.' So, it's really cool to finally be out here and it's really fun," Hughes explained.

The special moments were all made possible by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

"It was awesome, breaking down the huddle, watching D-Hop (DeAndre Hopkins), talking to D-Hop, talking about his vegetarian diet. But yeah, it was a super cool experience. I'm blessed to be here for sure," Hughes said.

Hughes even looked like a wide receiver on the field, getting the opportunity to catch a pass from Watson. After the catch, Hughes showed off his celebration, which impressed Watson.

"Yeah! He has better end zone moves than me. I'm going to have to hit him up each week and try to find something different. Maybe he can give me some tips," Watson said.

Hughes lived the life of a pro football player during his time with the Texans on Sunday. The Cypress Creek High School student, who will be a senior this year, received a game ball (courtesy, he says, of Watson), a practice ball, Nike cleats, his own locker that said 'Ethan,' a replica Watson jersey, a helmet and gloves.

"I'm glad I get to finish out school because I wasn't able to go to school last year. So, it's really cool to go back and see my friends," Hughes said.

He's also looking ahead to college, hoping to attend either the University of Houston or Rice University, which are both close to the Texas Medical Center.

Despite the treatment, Hughes is optimistic and is ready to get back to some of his favorite activities.

"I've been trying to talk my doctor into maybe getting me back on my motorcycle, my dirt bike. I was an amateur motocross racer and I'd like to do that again," Hughes said.

When asked what this meant to him, Watson said it was a blessing.

"It's a blessing, just to be able to have a guy like himself to continue to work hard, never get discouraged, continue to push forward, and just to hear his story and see what he went through. My mom's situation, when she had tongue cancer, so I know exactly what he's going through, through the chemo and all of the radiation stuff," Watson said. "So, I'm really happy to see him walk around with a smile, great spirits because it's every day where you never know when it could be your last, but you've got to live life one day at a time, one moment at a time, one step at a time."

Watson also posted on Instagram about their hangout during training camp, adding that although the day was for Hughes, Watson felt just as inspired.

"I was so inspired by his positive attitude and his smile all while fighting leukemia. I adore you bro and keep pushing forward! There is power in wishing. For all of us," Watson said in the post.

Hughes also shared some words of encouragement for cancer patients fighting their own battle.

"It's tough when you - I have some hair growing back, but it was tough when I lost all of it. It's hard because in society you're judged on your looks, and people have to see what's really on the inside. Especially if you have a problem or a difficult life situation, cancer is a hard thing and I'm sure there's other different difficulties people have. You just got to wake up every day and you have to be inspired and know that every day counts," the teen said.


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